Cinephiles and romantics rejoice! Australia’s most glamorous film event is returning to Palace Cinemas for its 25th season with a tantalising line-up of 46 features and documentaries that make a French ‘affaire’ essential! Presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia and the generous support of Gold Sponsor Citroën, the Alliance Française French Film Festival will screen across seven cities throughout March and April, launching in Sydney on 4 April. And to mark our ‘silver’ anniversary we are thrilled that celebrated French/Australian entertainer, Julia Zemiro will be joining us as the Festival’s inaugural Patron.
A slate of French-themed special events, international guests and Première screenings will dominate Palace Cinemas for a glorious two-month period and will include a tribute to François Truffaut, the master of French New Wave Cinema and a Closing Night that will honour the comic genius of Jacques Tati.
The Finishers, a poignant drama with characters inspired by a true story, will take centre stage on Opening Night in each city. Screening courtesy of Madman Entertainment, directed by Nils Tavernier and starring Jacques Gamblin and Alexandra Lamy, The Finishers follows the journey of an embittered, former Ironman champion, and his disabled son who join forces to compete in a triathlon. The films thereafter will feature the bewitching talents of a ‘who’s who’ of French and European silver-screen luminaries including Fanny Ardant, Léa Seydoux, Emmanuelle Devos, Romain Duris, Bérénice Béjo, Gabriel Byrne, Mads Mikkelsen, Bruno Ganz, Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Tchéky Karyo, Sandrine Kiberlain, François Cluzet, Jean Dujardin, Cécile de France, Tim Roth, Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, Thierry Lhermitte, Niels Arestrup, Julie Gayet, Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Nathalie Baye, Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Michael Nyqvist, André Dussollier, Isabelle Nanty, Marilou Berry, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Louise Bourgoin and many, many more!
Highlights of the 2014 Festival include:
A CASTLE IN ITALY (Un château en Italie)
Director: Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi (Starring Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Louis Garrel, Céline Sallette, Marisa Borini)
Bruni-Tedeschi writes, directs and stars as a former actress struggling to unite her once wealthy family and maintain their connection to their beautiful estate in Piedmonte, in this hypnotic tapestry of family life.
BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD (Les beaux jours)
Director: Marion Vernoux (Starring Fanny Ardant, Laurent Lafitte, Patrick Chesnais, Jean-François Stévenin)
In this tender romantic comedy, an older, still vibrant woman, embarks upon an affair with a much younger man, which becomes complicated by their age differences, her marriage and his string of other lovers.
CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915 (Camille Claudel 1915)
Director: Bruno Dumont (Starring Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent, Robert Leroy, Emmanuel Kauffmann)
A searing and devastating look at the life of troubled sculptress, Camille Claudel, who was confined to an asylum following the collapse of her affair with fellow artist, Auguste Rodin.
CYCLING WITH MOLIÈRE (Alceste à bicyclette)
Director: Philippe Le Guay (Starring Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, Maya Sansa, Laurie Bordesoules)
Serge, a great, retired actor who lives as a recluse, is invited by Gauthier, a reigning TV heartthrob, to make a comeback in a production of Molière’s play, The Misanthrope. But before agreeing, Serge insists upon seven days of rehearsal, which neither of these two egocentric characters may survive!
FOLIES BERGÈRE (Folies Bergère)
Director: Marc Fitoussi (Starring Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Michael Nyqvist, Pio Marmaï)
Fifty-something Brigitte lives a good life with her husband in regional France. But the departure of their children has thrown her world into flux and she dreams of something more. With her unrest building, she impulsively makes an excuse to set off for Paris, where she meets a charming Danish gentleman whose attentions flatter her.
GOING AWAY (Un beau dimanche)
Director: Nicole Garcia (Starring Louise Bourgoin, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Rochefort, Déborah François)
In this intimate, character-driven thriller, a primary school teacher becomes enchanted by the mother of one of his students. But just as love beckons, problems from her dark past threaten to overwhelm their fragile idyll.
IT BOY (20 ans d’écart)
Director: David Moreau (Starring Virginie Efira, Pierre Niney, Gilles Cohen, Charles Berling, Amélie Glenn)
A hilarious look at sexual politics in the world of Parisian publishing. Beautiful, capable but uptight Alice suddenly finds her career chances improve, when a series of misunderstandings label her with a ‘cougar’ persona.
JUST A SIGH (Le temps de l’aventure)
Director: Jérôme Bonnell (Starring Gabriel Byrne, Emmanuelle Devos, Gilles Privat, Aurélia Petit)
Alix, a fortyish actress en route to Paris for an audition with a broken mobile and a maxed-out credit card finds that a brief encounter with Douglas, an enigmatic stranger, sets her on a path of impulsive decisions with both the promise and the risk of new beginnings. An ode to the ageless thrill of a new and forbidden romance.
MADEMOISELLE C. (Mademoiselle C.)
Director: Fabien Constant (Starring Carine Roitfeld, Karl Lagerfeld, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Upton, Tom Ford)
A delicious immersion in the high-octane world of high fashion, this riveting documentary follows Carine Roitfeld, one of the most revered doyens of this fickle industry, as she embarks upon the launch of her new magazine.
MICHAEL KOHLHAAS (Michael Kohlhaas)
Director: Arnaud des Pallières (Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Bruno Ganz, Denis Lavant, Sergi López, Delphine Chuillot)
A bloody epic set in Feudal France, this drama tells the story of horse trader Kohlhaas, who dares to confront the corrupt local baron and legal system in a battle for revenge which sets him on a brutal course of justice.
Director: Éric Rochant (Starring: Jean Dujardin, Cécile de France, Tim Roth, Émilie Dequenne, Oleksii Gorbunov)
Amidst the backdrop of Monaco, a Russian secret agent sets up a ‘sting’ to entrap a corrupt tycoon but along the way embarks upon a torrid affair with a beautiful financial trader which threatens the success of the operation.
QUAI D’ORSAY (Quai d’Orsay)
Director: Bertrand Tavernier (Starring: Thierry Lhermitte, Raphaël Personnaz, Niels Arestrup, Julie Gayet)
A scorching political satire from one of France’s most revered directors about a ‘talking tornado’ of a foreign minister, whose jaded chief-of-staff and young assistant battle to shield from imminent disaster on a daily basis.
UNDER THE RAINBOW (Un bout du conte)
Director: Agnès Jaoui (Starring Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Arthur Dupont, Agathe Bonitzer, Valérie Crouzet)
Laura has always dreamed of the perfect fairy-tale romance, so when she meets an aspiring composer, she knows instantly that he is her ‘prince charming’. But what happens when prince number two appears at the same time?!
Director: Martin Provost (Starring: Emmanuelle Devos, Sandrine Kiberlain, Olivier Gourmet, Catherine Hiegel)
Set against the heady intellectual atmosphere of 1940s Paris, this is the compelling tale of novelist Violette Leduc and her struggle to find her voice as a writer. Scarred by both a childhood trauma and a loveless marriage, she finds a complex mentor in Simone de Beauvoir, and subsequently gains entry into the world of literary giants.
National dates and venues for the 2014 ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL are:
SYDNEY: 4 – 23 March, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
MELBOURNE: 5 – 23 March, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema, Como, Palace Westgarth & Kino Cinemas
CANBERRA: 6 – 25 March, Palace Electric Cinema
BRISBANE: 6 – 25 March, Palace Barracks & Palace Centro
PERTH: 18 March – 6 April, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX & Windsor Cinema
ADELAIDE: 20 March – 8 April, Palace Nova Eastend
BYRON BAY: 24 – 28 April, Palace Byron Bay
For updates, visit the Festival’s official website at: http://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/